This has nothing to do with my health. Well, maybe my mental health, but not really. It is, however, something that I’ve been thinking about, so I thought I’d share.
Maybe you’ve seen or read about Arthur Chu, the Jeopardy contestant with a “unique” strategy. If you’re not familiar, click here for a quick summary from Yahoo Finance.
Now, I happen to enjoy Jeopardy. I don’t watch every day, but frequently. And I happened to catch Chu’s first and second days last week. And here are my thoughts: I get that he was playing to win and trying to win as much money as possible, and that that’s the ultimate point of being a contestant on Jeopardy. BUT as a viewer, I found it so unpleasant and uncomfortable to watch that I just turned it off as soon as I saw him start it again on the second day. And that’s not good for any contestants (including him), because while it is a contest in which the goal is making money, it’s also a television show that needs viewers. I’m sure that Jeopardy isn’t in any immediate risk of cancellation because of this one contestant. That said, if other contestants in the future begin to adopt the same strategy, the show will lose viewers.
The whole thing really makes you think about the purpose of game shows. Are they really for the benefit of the contestants or are they for the viewers? Most television shows are geared towards gaining (and keeping) viewers and those that don’t get cancelled. Even “reality” shows are scripted to be more interesting for the viewing audience. I think that it will be interesting to see how this pans out in the future.
It also just felt like poor sportsmanship. People get angry (or not) when athletes demonstrate poor sportsmanship. It’s generally considered bad form to run up a score when your team is clearly going to dominate the game (although one could argue that the Super Bowl was an exception to that rule). I don’t think that poor sportsmanship is something that we should encourage or reward with financial gain. Maybe I’m naive and maybe it is the way that people get ahead in the world, but that doesn’t make it right.